Shining at SMAC
County athletes win at SMAC track and field championships
Perhaps it seemed fitting that toward the latter portion of the second day of the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference outdoor track and field championships at Lackey High School last Thursday evening, a pair of rainbows graced the northeastern skyline in Indian Head.
With a brief, passing shower making its presence known on the track while the setting sunlight graced the building at Lackey, one bright rainbow and one dim one appeared above the campus. Perhaps it symbolized that the host Chargers had found their pot of gold at one end because both the Lackey boys and girls teams captured the SMAC titles that day, with Northern finishing second in both boys and girls.
Lackey’s girls accumulated 159 points over the two-day event that began on May 8, finishing well clear of Northern (120), Leonardtown (83), Huntingtown (78), North Point (61), St. Charles (50), Westlake (41), Calvert (30), McDonough (13) and Great Mills (12) which rounded out the top 10.
In their final SMAC championships together, Lackey seniors Dominique Jeffery and Destiny Thompson each captured a pair of individual titles and with the meet title well in hand Jeffery anchored the Chargers’ 1,600-meter relay that pulled away from St. Charles and Leonardtown to finish in 4 minutes 2.72 seconds. Jeffery was joined by Taylor Williams, Erin Pearson, Arielle Garrison in capturing the title.
“When Arielle handed me the baton for the last lap, I just knew that I had to finish it,” said Jeffery, who had earlier captured both the 200 (24.95 seconds) and the 400 (57.22) and finished third behind Thompson and sophomore teammate Daynah Desir in the 100. “We knew Northern was going to be really tough to beat, but we all worked so
hard for this. Winning the SMAC title at home is really special.”
Thompson had won the 100 (12.23) and the 300 hurdles (45.34), took second behind teammate Taylor Williams in the 100 hurdles and settled for fourth in the 200 that Jeffery captured.
“In the 100, I felt really good right from the start,” Thompson said. “I had a really good start. After that, I just focused on what was in front of me. I never looked over [my shoulder]. I didn’t even listen for anyone. I just felt good the whole way and finished strong. In the hurdles, I just wanted to get away fast and stay focused on each jump and I did OK.”
Lackey senior Courtney Hawkins continued her dominance in the field events for the Chargers,
capturing the shot put (41 feet 6 inches) and the discus (120-2).
Lackey’s boys also took home the SMAC title on Thursday, but with little room for error. The Chargers boys picked up 88 points, edging Northern (82), La Plata (80), Calvert (71), North Point (65), Huntingtown (61), Chopticon (53), Westlake (44), St. Charles (40) and Great Mills (36) which completed a compact top 10.
“We knew the boys were going to be really close,” Lackey head coach Jimari Jones. “In fact, [Northern head coach Josh] Dawson told me that we were tied going into the last event. I had no idea it was that close. I knew our girls were really coming into this meet peaking at the right time. I didn’t know if our boys would be able to get it done, but they did.”
While the Lackey girls attained numerous individual victories and also prevailed in one relay, the Chargers boys actually won the overall team title without winning a single individual event or relay.
Junior Linn Jordan took second in the 200, Shamod Hatten was second in the 110 hurdles, Dominic Hawkins was second in the
shot put and fourth in the discus, Chris Thompson took third in the shot put and Demetrius Sims was third in the 300 hurdles.
Plenty of winners
While the Lackey girls dominated the sprints on their home course, the Northern girls once again proved virtually unbeatable in the distance events.
Patriots senior Alyssa Tatum captured the 1,600 (5:15.61) to lead a Northern sweep of the top three spots as junior Claudia Dolan was second and senior Abby Sweeney was third. Sweeney lived up to her role as the top distance runner in the conference by taking the 3,200 (11:15.52), a race in which Leonardtown freshman Nelle Ray dictated much of the early tempo.
Despite being one of the Northern seniors, Tatum is one of the genuine newcomers in SMAC. Having spent the previous two school years in Guam, Tatum has been a welcomed addition to the Patriots and added depth to an already deep girls group of distance runners. Last Thursday she emerged from the shadows to garner the SMAC title in the mile.
La Plata’s boys were in the title chase thanks largely to the efforts of senior Alex Strong, who
recently signed his national letter of intent to attend Arkansas State University. Strong recorded a hat trick of his own over the two days, winning the high jump (6-4) on May 8 then returning two days later to take the triple jump (43-4 1/2) and 110 hurdles (15.11) and place third in the long jump.
Leonardtown sophomore Emily Snyder and Raiders junior teammate Renee Nosko finished one-two in the 800, followed in succession by the Northern senior trio of Sarah Deresky, Tatum and Mary Twetten. Snyder’s triumph came as a result of brushing past the Patriots threesome to take command entering the final turn.
“That really wasn’t the plan,” Snyder said of her bold backside move. “I just was feeling really good at that point and decided to go for it. Those Northern girls are so fast. When I made the lead I felt real- ly strong and I just kept reaching for the finish.”
North Point’s quartet of Jasmine Forbes, Jada Johnson, Caila Coates and Carmen Henderson captured the 400 relay (49.35), while Leonardtown’s Emma Vezzosi, Nosko, Ella Muja and Leya Essex prevailed in the 800 relay (1:44.36). Essex was also second to Jeffery in the 400 and the Raiders senior will be joining Sweeney at East Carolina University this fall.
Westlake senior Kamari Walker won the 200 (22.50), while Chopticon senior Tyler Modrzejewski captured the 800 (1:57.59). Calvert junior Justin Diehl won the 3,200 on May 8 (9:32.35) then came back to take the 1,600 (4:23.92) on Thursday by roughly two seconds over Modrzejewski. La Plata sophomore Nico Stout won the 100 (11.20) very narrowly over Great Mills’ Marcus Smith.
Calvert’s John Dodsworth, left, and Chopticon’s Tyler Modrzejewski battle for second at the end of the boys 1,600-meter run during the SMAC track and field championships on Thursday at Lackey High School. Modrzejewski got runner-up and Dodsworth...